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Child Care Licensing

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Teacher reading bookThe North Dakota Department of Human Services administers the licensure of Early Childhood Services (child care) and helps develop standards to regular child care settings.  Many of the child care programs are able to participate in the Child Care Assistance Program and the USDA Food Program.   For additional information, please visit the Early Childhood Services in North Dakota website.

Licensed Child Care Providers Categories

  • Licensed Family Child Care: Family providers may care for up to 7 children with no more than 3 who are under the age of 24 months, plus two additional school-age children.
  • Licensed Group Child Care: Group child care programs may be licensed in a home or a facility.  Groups may be licensed for up to 30 children, with the actual license capacity determined by available space, staff to child ratios, and sometimes local ordinances.
  • Licensed Child Care Center: Child care centers are licensed for at least 19 children in a facility with the actual license capacity determined by available space, staff to child ratios, and sometimes local ordinances.
  • Licensed Preschools: Preschools provide education and socialization experiences for children age 2 years to kindergarten and may operation sessions for no more than 3 hours per day.
  • Licensed School-Age Programs: School-age programs are licensed for at least 19 children in a facility, with the actual license capacity determined by available space, staff to child ratio, and sometimes local ordinances.  School-age programs offer services before and after school and sometimes on school holidays and through the summer months.
  • Multiple License Facility: This type of program has more than one type of license such as a center and preschool.

Unlicensed Child Care Provider Categories:

  • Self-Declared Providers: Individuals care for 5 or fewer children or 3 infants in a home.  These providers must meet some minimal standards including a background check and basic health and safety training, are inspected prior to approval, and receive one monitoring visit per year. 
  • Approved Relatives: Individuals care for 5 or fewer children or 3 infants.  The approved relatives must be related by marriage, blood relationship or court order and include: grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  A sibling who is age 18 or older and who does not live in the same home as the children for whom care is being provided, can also become an approved relative.  Approved relative providers and adult household members receive a background check.  These providers are not monitored.

Additional Resources:

For questions, please refer to the resources listed above or contact the Child Care Licensing Specialists at (701) 241-5765.